Sunday, April 22, 2012

Don't Ignore...

....Infertility!
Today marks the first day of National Infertility Awareness Week! So, this blog is temporarily dedicated to talk of infertility. Like I wrote last week, even though we are excited about God's plan for us to adopt, it doesn't take away the pain of infertility and the grieving we have had to and continue to go through. So, each day I will mention another part of infertility that we ALL shouldn't ignore!

My biggest thing when recommending that people not ignore infertility is please do not assume that everyone around you is fertile and wants to talk about baby and pregnancy related topics all the time. This is painful for those experiencing infertility. Now, before our diagnosis I would have assumed that everyone was indeed fertile, but infertility is a lot more common than you would think! 1 in 8 couples of childbearing age experience infertility. So, it's actually not appropriate for you to ask a couple without kids when they're going to start trying to build their family unless you are VERY close to them. It's likely that 1 in 8 times that you ask, you're asking someone that wishes they could say, "we already have kids!" but is unable to get there because of a medical problem That question should only be reserved for your closest friends and family to avoid awkwardness.

Also, please know that infertility does not mean sterility! If someone is diagnosed as infertile that usually doesn't mean they are unable to have children, but it does mean that they will need fertility treatments and fertility drugs (or a miracle!) to achieve a healthy pregnancy. However, treatment doesn't guarantee a healthy baby or even that conception will occur. Of course, everyone going through infertility treatment hopes and prays that their doctor's recommended treatment will bring them a baby (or babies), but there is no "silver bullet" treatment to parenthood. Even IVF, the most invasive and successful treatment, has, at best, a 50% success rate. So, what this means is that infertility has no easy solution and is oftentimes a very long and frustrations road, filled with failed treatment and dashed hopes. So, if you know people going through infertility, please be there to support them through this sometimes long and discouraging phase of their lives.

Below is more about infertility in general straight from the "Resolve" website (National Infertility Association) to kick off NIAW!

What IS Infertility?Infertility is a disease or condition of the reproductive system often diagnosed after a couple has had one year of unprotected, well-timed intercourse, or if the woman has suffered from multiple miscarriages and the woman is under 35 years of age. If the woman is over 35 years old, it is diagnosed after 6 months of unprotected, well-timed intercourse.

Who gets it?Infertility is a medical problem. Approximately 30% of infertility is due to a female factor and 30% is due to a male factor. In the balance of the cases, infertility results from problems in both partners or the cause of the infertility cannot be explained.
What are the risk factors?
  • Weight
  • Age
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
  • Tubal Disease
  • Endometriosis
  • DES Exposure
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol
What are the signs and symptoms?Often there are no signs or symptoms associated with an infertility problem. Listening to your body and getting regular checkups will help to detect a problem. Early detection and treatment of a problem are often critical in achieving successful pregnancy outcomes later.
How is infertility treated?Medical technology now offers more answers and treatment options to men and women trying to conceive a child. From hormonal treatments, ovulation induction and Intrauterine insemination to more advanced technologies like in vitro fertilization, ICSI to surrogacy, egg/sperm donation and even embryo donation. For more information on treatment of infertility visit the Family Building Options section of our site.
What medications are used?There are a variety of medications used to treat infertility. It is important to understand the medications and what their purpose is and to speak with your physician about the medications that will be used in your specific treatment plan. Read more about Fertility Medications.
What is artificial insemination?Artificial insemination is now more commonly referred to as IUI (intrauterine insemination). It is a procedure used for couples with unexplained infertility, minimal male factor infertility, and women with cervical mucus problems. The procedure uses the husband's or donor's sperm, washing and treating the sperm, and then injecting it into the woman during the time of ovulation. Read more about IUI.
What is In Vitro or IVF?In vitro fertilization (IVF) gets its name from the fact that fertilization occurs outside of the woman's body, in a lab dish instead of a woman's fallopian tubes. Typically, a woman will use ovulation stimulating drugs to produce an excess number of eggs. These eggs are surgically removed from the woman and fertilized in dish with sperm. If fertilization takes place, the physician transfers the embryo(s) into the women's uterus. Read more about IVF.
How can I find an infertility specialist?
Visit RESOLVE’s Professional Service Directory to find an infertility specialist in your area or visit www.sart.org.
Can my OB/GYN treat me? In many cases the difficulty experienced in becoming pregnant can be resolved by a gynecologist without a referral to a specialist. Often the problem comes down to timing intercourse with ovulation, which may be assessed using one of the over-the-counter urine LH test kits (ovulation predictor tests). Your OB/GYN can also conduct a basic infertility evaluation. If a problem is found during your evaluation and for more complex fertility issues, it is advised to see a specialist. 
What questions should I ask my doctor? It is important to go into the visit with your doctor prepared. Visit the "Downloads section" of this site which covers important questions to ask your physician on a variety of topics.

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